CIF-SS preseasonTop 10s: Only five locals acknowledged

Five area high school football programs are among the CIF Southern
Section’s preseason top 10 polls.

In the Western Division (formerly Div. III), defending division
champion St. Paul is No. 3 behind Palmdale and Dominguez.

In the Southeast Division (Div. VII), Schurr is No. 4, Santa Fe is
No. 5
and California is No. 6. Leaders in the division are South Hills
No. 1, Charter Oak No. 2 and Diamond Ranch No. 3.

In the Southwest Division (Div. VI), 2007 Southeast Division champion
La Habra, moving up a division in 2008, is No. 2 behind two-time
defending champion El Dorado.

Local teams listed among others receiving votes are La Mirada in the
Southern Division (Div. IX) and Whittier Christian in the Mid-Valley
Division (Div. XI).

Locals who are conspicuous by their absence are La Serna and Pioneer in the Southeast Division, and Cantwell Sacred Heart of Mary in the
Northwest Division (Div. X).

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Correspondents: Watch a ballgame, write the story

Last call for Stringers.
Looking for correspondents to cover Friday night football games.
Generally it means covering a game, then writing a relatively short
account of what you saw in story form. In some cases, it will involve
merely calling in the box score and a brief recap of the game (the desk
will write the story from the information you provide). You will be
given a press pass to cover the games from the sideline or press box (if
available). You’ll be paid a small fee for your effort and time. This is
a fun opportunity for real sports fans who have reasonable knowledge of
the game and can spell. Interested parties should send an email to concerning your experience (however limited) and
contact information to set up an interview.

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Sportsmanship awards for Swordsmen

St. Paul High School and student Alissa Caceres have received “Champions for Character” awards from the California Interscholastic Federation, Southern Section (CIF-SS) for their performances in 2008.
A letter from the CIF-SS to St. Paul Principal Frank Laurenzello said the awards are being presented based on recommendations that cited the school and Caceres “as exemplifying the very finest in sportsmanship, character, integrity and athletics.”
The letter explained the school’s selection “was made from a pool of all the schools in the CIF Southern Section.”
Caceres’ selection “was made from thousands of possible recipients in the CIF Southern Section.”
Caceres, a standout cross country and track athlete, was honored in the student portion of the award.
St. Paul athletic director Marc Hernandez described the honor as an “award every athletic director strives to have in his athletic program.”
“This means we’re doing the right thing here,” Hernandez said. “It acknowledges the type of kids we have here, the type of student/athletes who are being prepared to be productive later on in life.
“It’s a validation for how we shape our kids, the process, and the great support we receive from our alumni and parents.”

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St. Paul gets a baseball … ah, make that softball coach

Having been a late hire, new St. Paul High School softball coach Craig Worthington talks of communication on his part and hard work on the players’ part as necessary in making a smooth transition to the coming season.
Worthington replaces Cassie Morales who resigned to pursue a different career direction.
Worthington, 43, brings some impressive credentials, albeit they are baseball-oriented.
A graduate of Cantwell Sacred Heart of Mary High School and an all-conference selection at third base for Cerritos College, Worthington went on to spend 10 years in Major League Baseball. He played for the Baltimore Orioles (earning Sporting News Rookie of the Year honors in 1989 after batting .247 with 15 home runs and 70 runs batted in), Cleveland, Cincinnati and Texas. He finished with a .230 career average, 33 home runs and 144 RBIs in .
Worthington owns and operates a hitting instruction academy in Downey for both baseball and softball players.
“He has numerous connections to club softball teams and promises to bring on a quality staff,” St. Paul athletic director Marc Hernandez said. “I believe he will bring a sense of professionalism, leadership and continued success to our softball program.”
Because he was a late hire, Worthington did not have a summer program for the Swordsmen. He said he will spend the first month or two on conditioning before making up his mind how he will form the varsity and junior varsity groups.
To get the program started, Worthington said he needed to establish strong communication with the players and to earn their trust.
“Girls deal alot more with emotions than the boys do,” Worthington said, “but I feel confident I’ll be able to communicate well with them.
“The early goals will be to instill a team concept and work ethic, and how to go about it the right way. How we work on the field and in practice will determine how successful we’ll be. If we can get everybody in the same boat, everything should fall into place.”

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La Habra ready to take dead aim on Southwest Division

His team moves up a notch from the Southeast Division to the Southwest
Division, by the roman numeral from Division VII to Division VI, but La
Habra football coach Frank Mazzotta finds his team at No. 2 in Calpreps’
preseason division rankings.

Asked about his team’s chances to repeat as a division champion, he
merely expresses concern about, among others, two-time defending
champion El Dorado, No. 3-ranked Trabuco Hills (No. 3) and fellow
Freeway foe Fullerton (No. 5). He also adds he is excited, as are his
players, about being in this new division. He talks about “having a lot of
fun, getting to play some new teams and welcoming the new challenge.”

He also quietly adds his Highlanders, who are coming off a 13-0 (4-0
in league) CIF championship season, should be pretty good. No
arrogance, no boasting, no chest thumping, just answering a question.

He has always been that way.

Clearly he has the credentials to thump some chest.

In Mazzotta’s 10 years at the helm, La Habra has posted a 91-30-1
record overall and a 41-8 mark in league. Over the past six seasons, the
Highlanders are 27-2 in league.

His teams have won seven league championships, six of them with
undefeated records. They’ve reached the CIF Southern Section division
championship finale four times and come home with three CIF titles
(2002, 2003, 2007).

Has La Habra replaced Santa Fe as the area’s most dominant program?

Perhaps, if that is of any importance. What is more important is what
the players are getting out of being part of and playing in Mazzotta’s

Sometimes one wonders if the community realizes what the program
provides, or maybe they know, and because of its consistency, merely
takes it for granted.

La Habra begins it’s bid for more trophy case hardware Sept. 12 on
the road against Downey. It should be a good opener, not necessarily for
the host Vikings.

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